Real versus fake Christmas trees | Letter

As we round the corner on the holiday season, those of us who celebrate Christmas are faced with the age-old question: is a real or fake Christmas tree better for the environment? One would assume cutting down any tree is bad for the environment, but actually, the answer is more complicated. According to the National Christmas Tree Association, real trees help fight climate change because for every tree cut down one to three more trees are planted. By creating a wealth of Christmas tree forests, the trees soak up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Another bonus of a real Christmas tree is that it can be responsibly disposed of in a series of ways, such as making mulch. The alternate option is the fake tree which, on the most basic level, is a hunk of plastic and metal. Most fake trees come from China, resulting in a huge amount of emissions as they are carried across the Pacific Ocean and then trucked across the country. While you could try to keep your tree for enough years to equal the emissions used to make and ship the tree, at that point, you must have the tree for approximately ten years, and the average lifespan for an artificial Christmas tree is six years. Worst of all, when your fake Christmas tree eventually breaks, it will end up in a landfill. So unless you plan to buy your fake Christmas tree and make it a family heirloom, go with the real deal.

Faith Embler,

San Juan Island